ANC says blackouts will be solved with state of national calamity in South Africa

ANC diz que apagões se resolvem com o estado de calamidade nacional na África do Sul

The African National Congress (ANC), the party in power in South Africa since 1994, considered that the current power crisis in the country will be solved in 15 months with the implementation of a state of national calamity.

The state of calamity will help us move forward quickly. The goal of doing it this year can be achieved. Procurement will be faster and resources for interventions, especially for maintenance, [made available]," said party secretary general Fikile Mbalula.

?Our response to covid-19 was scientifically driven. Our response to load [electricity] outages must be conducted scientifically,? he stressed.

In 2020, the South African government declared a state of national calamity to deal with the covid-19 pandemic, which has also aggravated the operations of the state-owned electricity utility Eskom, which is responsible for 90% of national generation, mostly from coal, and maintains continuous daily power cuts in the country.

The ruling ANC, which was meeting until Tuesday to discuss the energy crisis affecting Africa's most developed economy, told the press that the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) has decided on a ?15-month resuscitation strategy? for state-owned Eskom, without giving details.

We don't want an intervention that goes against the rights of the population. We want an emergency mechanism for interventions that will take care of the problem," Mbalula added.

Among the measures proposed under the state of national calamity, the ANC wants the government to channel unspent funds from the State General Budget ?since there are billions projected to be overspent? he said.

According to the secretary-general of the ANC, quoted by Lusa, the South African executive will meet later this week to discuss the recommendations of the former liberation movement.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also chairman of the ruling party, indicated at the central committee meeting that the countries of the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) ?must work together to address the energy crisis in the sister republics? according to South African media reports.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), the largest opposition party in the African nation, stressed that the implementation of the state of calamity over the energy crisis ?must be independently monitored?

?we need to ensure that this does not become another enrichment scheme like covid-19 was, in various ways, for [party] cadres and ministers to take advantage of the funds for their own amusement and consumption,? Democratic Alliance MP Ghaleb Cachalia stressed to the press.

The Communist Party of South Africa (SACP) - of which Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe is on the central committee -, a partner since 1994 in the tripartite governing coalition with the ANC and the trade union confederation Cosatu, recently considered that the electricity cuts are the result of ?a failed neo-liberal paradigm adopted by the government?

South Africans face more than 12 hours of constant blackouts every day, interspersed with several power cuts of 2-5 hours each, due to the technical breakdown and public mismanagement of the power utility, the debt-ridden Eskom.

On Tuesday, the utility announced the implementation of level 6 electricity cuts, with 8 being the maximum level, starting this Wednesday.

The state-owned power company, once the most efficient in the world, recently indicated that the country will face level 2 and 3 ?load shedding? blackouts in the next two years.

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